Well, we missed the boat for a Christmas newsletter this year, so we are making it a New Year’s newsletter! Such is life these days. 😉
We have had a very fruitful year, and we come to its close with thankful hearts. Thankful especially for Jesus Christ and His life and His love which He has given us in abundance.
It has been a year of growth in many ways! Each of our children has grown, and our family has grown by one member. The reach of our ministry has grown as well, and we are thankful for each opportunity the Lord has given us, each door opened and each family reached with the powerful truths of His Word. And yet our greatest desire is to grow in truly knowing Christ… this is life!
As for family ministry, we had opportunities to do many parenting seminars in three states and so we spent quite a bit of time on the road! Besides parenting seminars, we also spoke at a conference and Elizabeth spoke to ladies groups several times as well. Fabio ministered at a men’s retreat, helped to plan and organize three father-son camping trips, and there were various opportunities to share the gospel as we walked through life. We also started a home group in July with the goal of discipling families in a more “up close and personal” way than what we can do in a weekend seminar. It has been a very good time, and we are considering beginning a second group in this new year.
The children continue to be an integral part of our ministry, always traveling with us (which can be both grueling and rewarding!) Joshua is 12 now and besides his continued interest in reading, science and karate, he also became very interested in playing the guitar this year and is doing really well with it! He is starting to work for Fabio as his personal assistant, and with his earnings he is saving for an electric guitar.
Dominique is 10 years old and quickly becoming a young lady. She is also in karate and has many other interests as well, like making jewelry and various other crafts, singing and sign language, and is also my “right-hand woman” in the home. She loves to bake cakes and homemade bread and helps me quite a bit with meal preparation too. (She wants to work for Daddy to make some $$ too.)
Israel is 8 years old and is saving to buy a bass guitar. He has also been learning to play guitar this year and doing very well at it, but the kids thought that if we were going to put together a “family band” that we would need more of a variety of instruments, so he thinks he would like to learn to play bass. 😉 He just earned his orange belt in karate and continues to be an affectionate and easy-going fellow most of the time. (He wishes he could work for Daddy too.)
Johann is 6 and stays active and keeps our household interesting. 🙂 He is very athletic, so besides doing karate with his siblings, he spends a lot of time going in circles around our house on his bike, jumping on the trampoline and then into our little pool, repeat, repeat, repeat. He is in first grade and is doing well learning to read, and is “dabbling” in both guitar and piano playing. (He wishes he could just get easy $$ from Daddy.)
Olivia is 2 now and will be turning 3 in March. She keeps us on our toes with her high-maintenance ways and keeps us in stitches with the new things she says each day. What a fun age! She just LOVES her new baby sister and (quite literally) smothers her with affection. She spends the rest of her time irritating her siblings by getting into their “stuff” – nail polish, lego creations, silly putty, markers, you name it. It is far more interesting than toys! (She doesn’t care about $$ from Daddy. She just wants the stuff.)
And finally, our newest addition Annaliese Victoria, who was born on her big sister Dominique’s birthday – October 29th, weighing in at 10lbs. She was two months old yesterday, and is doing great. We are so thankful for her easy-going temperament and healthy sleeping and nursing habits. She was born with a tongue tie, as Olivia was, but we discovered it early on and were able to have it operated on at one month old. She is doing great and gaining very well! And she lacks no manner of affection or stimulation with a household of doting brothers and sisters. (She doesn’t know what $$ from Daddy is all about.)
As for me (Elizabeth), I continue to homeschool the children, and besides ministry commitments, I also do some photography jobs on the side. In my “spare time” (haha!), I try to squeeze in a bit of writing, and a bit of reading. Only a bit! Any other hobbies have been squeezed out of existence, but I don’t mind. My home and heart are FULL, and I would not trade my life for anything.